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February 29, 2008

Five-Star Academies hit Ohio

CINCINNATI - The Rivals.com Five-Star Academy tour takes a swing through the Midwest this weekend with two stops in the state of Ohio. The first stop on Saturday will be at the University of Cincinnati, and then on Sunday it'll be at the University of Akron.

Both events are expected to attract some of the top talent in the state, including household names like John Simon of Youngstown Cardinal Mooney and Justin Turner of Massillon Washington. But the list of stars expected doesn't stop there.

Then again it doesn't hurt to start at the top of the list with both Simon and Turner.

Simon, who is 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds, is widely considered the state's top overall prospect. From tradition-rich Mooney High, Simon ended the recruiting process early by committing to Ohio State over offers from Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Nebraska, Notre Dame and others.

"I've always loved Ohio State, and it was a tough decision against the other schools, but I went down there for a bowl practice and I loved it," Simon said. "I waited a little while and I felt the same way, so I said why waste everyone else's time."

Turner, another four-star prospect, is a ball-hawking defensive back, that's good enough in coverage to star at either safety or defensive back. He's also did some damage on offense, but his 40 tackles and three interceptions and all-state honors on defense speak for themselves. Turner is garnering attention from all over the nation, but he does list more Midwest programs like Michigan, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Simon isn't the only Ohio State commitment expected this weekend.

Toledo (Ohio) St. John's offensive guard Jack Mewhort will be at the event in Akron. The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder pledged early to the Bucks, turning down offers from Bowling Green, Toledo, Michigan State and Northwestern. If Mewhort measures up and his film is as good as expected, it could be an opportunity for him to put his name on the national map.

Pickerington (Ohio) Central star safety Jamie Wood will be in Cincinnati to talk about his new commitment to Ohio State. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder was shooting up the national recruiting charts when he decided to end the recruiting process last week. Wood had offers from Penn State, Stanford, Akron, University of Miami, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Northwestern when he committed to the Bucks.

Another top recruit for OSU will also be in Cincinnati.

Linebacker Jordan Whiting of Louisville Trinity will make the short drive up, and for Rivals.com it will be our first opportunity to eyeball him in person and see what he measures in at. Already ranked as the nation's No. 49 player, Whiting committed last September to OSU, turning down offers from Kentucky, Louisville and ending the process before it could really even get started.

But the talent at both places isn't limited to just Ohio State commitments. Many of the players that are considered early top 50 in Ohio candidates and some of Kentucky's best will also be on hand.

In Cincinnati some of the major names to look out for include Cincinnati Sycamore running back Bud Golden, Cincinnati Taft defensive end Cornelius Carridine, Westerville South lineman Ricky Harris, Cincinnati Winton Woods end Anthony Talbert, Portsmouth lineman Nate Cadogan, Cincinnati Princeton receiver Jeff Duckworth, Cincinnati Wyoming two-way star Jacob Green, Columbus Walnut Ridge linebacker Zakee Bashir, Middletown athlete D.J. Hunter, Canal Winchester Harvest Prep defensive end Trae Tiller and Lexington Henry Clay offensive lineman Sam Simpson.

The event in Akron should be just as deep with talent. High profile recruits expected include defensive back Dale Peterman of Youngstown Ursuline, Darrell Mason of Youngtown Ursuline, lineman Nate Klatt of Canal Fulton Northwest, athlete Jeff Walker of Akron Coventry, linebacker Dan Fox of Cleveland St. Ignatius, quarterback Patrick Nicely of Willoughby South, defensive back Romel Dismuke of Cleveland Benedictine, offensive lineman Alex Jones of Sandusky and offensive lineman Corey Linsley of Youngstown Boardman.


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